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Production Park - Backstage Academy's home and the UK’s leading facility for the live events and creative industries - has secured a £12 million Government loan which it will use to expand and develop its Wakefield campus over the next decade.

Production Park is one of 11 major arts and heritage organisations across the UK to have received a loan offer this week from the £1 billion Cultural Recovery Fund, a combination of grant and loan cash from the department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), targeted to support a culture sector that has been devastated by the effects of Covid-19.

Other organisations to have benefitted from the £165m in repayable finance – and a further £58m in capital funding for ongoing construction and maintenance projects in the sector – announced by Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden today include the Royal Albert Hall, National Theatre, English National Opera, Alexandra Palace and the Royal Shakespeare Company. 

“The Cultural Recovery Fund is very much a lifeline for many in the culture sector and has enabled them simply to survive in the short-term, but we have taken a much longer-term view by securing a loan that we will use to grow our business, create jobs and opportunities, and generate revenue in the sector for years to come,” 

said Lee Brooks, CEO of Production Park. 

The £12m loan will drive investment by facilitating ambitious growth plans at Production Park. As well as providing rehearsal space for some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, including Coldplay, Little Mix and Peter Kay, the South Kirby site is home to more than more than 20 live events and creative businesses, 4 studios and a cohort of more than 200 students at Backstage Academy, a higher education provider for the creative industries. 

The loan will deliver Production Park’s plans to create XPLOR, a research and development and business incubation facility on site to support local businesses in the live events and creative industries. The investment will also help Production Park to expand their existing studio facilities and create managed workspace to nurture up and coming talent in the region. 

Production Park's Studio 001
Production Park's Studio 001

Brooks added: 

"The Production Park team is delighted to receive support through the Cultural Recovery Fund in what has undoubtedly been a very turbulent year for the live events sector across the UK. We chose not to apply for a grant and instead opted for a loan, as this enabled us to take holistic view of the Park’s long-term expansion plans.

“Our application was examined through a detailed due diligence process with PwC, and we are pleased that the national importance of Production Park and its role in the sector was recognised, along with our ambitious plans to take our business to the next level.

 "The live events industry has suffered a real blow this year, but this economic stimulus enables us to look ahead to the future. We will create jobs, opportunities, and revenues for years to come, when the sector inevitably bounces back stronger than ever after Covid."

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said: 

“When the Culture Recovery Fund launched, I said I would not let the cultural sector down and I have kept my word with more than £1 billion now allocated to organisations who need it most.

“We have funded organisations of every size in all corners of the country, and now we are extending a huge helping hand to some of the country’s biggest cultural powerhouses to get them through the Covid crisis too.”

Roger Marsh OBE DL, Chair of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and NP11 said: 

“We’re pleased to have supported this important facility and that the Government has recognised the role it will play in building a resilient, inclusive economic recovery.”

For more information, please get in touch. 

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